Something simple for today, a very long day for me. The most challenging thing was doing my photo late in the day without natural light. I think that the lighting worked, and perhaps for the fall/winter arrangements it will add to the overall effect of the seasons. Learning to do an arrangement any time of day with any lighting is a great lesson for me. I know that once fall begins I’ll be busy and won’t always have the luxury of natural lighting, and at times very little time to do photos. This combination of bittersweet, hosta leaf and blackberry lily in a nagiere arrangement is very much a transition of summer into fall, and being the last day of August the transition from one season to the other is close at hand.
Archive for August, 2011
Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
Some days it’s difficult to come up with the right idea for an arrangement and the materials play a big part in that process. I had no idea what to use today and wanted something a bit different. A different direction, or some big change was needed from the last several days so it required some thought. I spent a lot of the day running around trying to catch up on the tasks that had been piling up for me to do, so my mind was occupied with errands. We did need some things from the Tuesday evening farmer’s market here in Brookland and that provided the perfect opportunity to pick up some materials to do a “Morimono” arrangement. A Morimono is an ikebana arrangement in which fruit and/or vegetables are combined with plant material. It usually contains some type of root or root vegetable and it can be displayed on a tray, a base plate, a cloth or even a large leaf (I’ve used a bamboo mat for mine). Morimono is usually arranged to honor happy occasions as the arrangement of roots, leaves and fruits and vegetables is symbolically associated with prosperity. For the root vegetable I used a red onion and garlic, a watermelon provided a large mass and I added some red and green peppers, seckel pears, small yellow tomatoes and an aspidistra leaf. Morimono is definately on my list to do again this fall.
Monday, August 29th, 2011
Again today I used the sunflowers that came down during Hurricane Irene in my ikebana arrangement. I’m still drawn to the muted grays and earth tones of late summer and the beach colors but wanted to add a touch of color. It will soon be time for the vibrant reds, yellows and oranges of fall and I can’t wait. Maybe some different textures and combinations of flowers, branches and berries, so much to choose from in fall tones. My project of doing ikebana for a year is on day 43 today, and I have to admit that it is becoming a welcome habit. There are still a lot of days left to finish and my hope is to make this a sustainable habit to do each day thru the year and beyond.
Sunday, August 28th, 2011
Hurricane Irene is history, and I have photos that I tried without luck to post. However I will say that it was an interesting evening, one of the windows in the house we were staying in was shattered by a wind blown tree branch around 8PM last night. As were were trying to cover it( contractor trash bags and duct tape did the job nicely)the power finally went out for good. About a half hour later a huge tree crashed right by the house and took out the power line to the house, thankfully the power was out or it might have cause a fire. So the rest of the evening was spent by battery powered lantern reading a book. The wind blew all night, and it was not something that I enjoyed very much. I didn’t sleep well so I was a bit tired today. There probably won’t be power there until later this week and we decided that it was time to pack it up and leave out artist retreat a week early. I did get this ikebana arrangement done once I got home and had a nap. The driftwood is from the bay and the sunflower was one that the hurricane brought down in our garden. It’s good to be home, although I had plans to do other work at the bay. This week I’ll just have to dig a little deeper here at home and make new work here.
Saturday, August 27th, 2011
My focus has been on getting things prepped for the hurricane, so I thought I had enough time to get up today and gather some last minute floral materials before the storm began at noon. Wrong! It was already windy when we got up and began to rain shortly afterwards. Now it’s been really windy and rainy for hours and the main even is still on the way, due to be at the peak between 8PM tonight and 8AM tomorrow morning. So I’ve been busy securing some last items that needed to be brought in from the winds. I did this quick ikebana out of some left over materials I had on hand. Not my best work, but something to carry my project onward. I may try another one later today after I get myself in a better state. The power has gone off and back on about 10 times already and fear that later on it will go off for a while. So I am posting while I still have power to run my laptop. Now to sit back and try to enjoy the evening as much as possible under these conditions.
*Edited:Now I have taken the time to make another version of the first arrangement. Just enough natural light left in the day to photograph it, and we still have power! I may have to do a horizontal version too.
Friday, August 26th, 2011
My inspiration for today was the bay/beach, maybe it’s seeing it every day on the retreat or the impending winds/rain of hurricane Irene that influenced me. I wanted something with a very beachy feel and some lightness to it. The pampas grass (courtesy of Juanita’s yard) gives a bright and airy feeling, and the barnacle covered piece of driftwood from the bay grounds it some while also giving it some added movement. I covered the kenzan with some odd green thistle I found on the shore, and it was a great find. We’re stocked up for the storm to come tomorrow and hoping to have power. We’re not really sure what to expect since we are only here for our retreat and haven’t experienced a big storm like this close to the water.We thought we might go home, but decided that it would be much better to spend our time here instead of being cooped up in a city apartment. It’s still sunny and beautiful here today and I want to go back out and walk and collect some more materials to work with while we’re stuck indoors this weekend. I may have some photos of the storm to post later on!
Thursday, August 25th, 2011
Today was partly rainy and was mostly spent getting out and enjoying the day before the winds of hurricane Irene arrive on Saturday. Gathering some provisions for the weekend was a part of the day too. later I was able to gather some lovely gypsophilia (baby’s breath) , pink garden roses, and some dark red forsythia from our neighbor Juanita’s garden. I massed the gypsophilia then added the roses and forsythia. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would want to use baby’s breath, but the garden grown variety is really fun to use. It looks much to me like the plumes of a smoke tree in bloom, and created a lovely mass. It’s going to be added to my garden in town next year!
Wednesday, August 24th, 2011
This is the result of my work(off and on) for the last few days. It somewhat resembles the sketch I did. Not complicated, but a fun piece to do. I had wanted it to have some kinetic energy of some sort and I never imagined that the root/driftwood piece would move in the water. I hadn’t seen it with the water that high and was delighted that it had movement. The single grass place above it moved with the slightest bay breeze to give it a nice connection with nature. It was a great lesson in learning how to make pieces for outdoors and how they react with the weather and landscape.
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
For some reason today I chose not to place the sphere I had been working on in the installation spot and instead was drawn to late summer materials to make a smaller piece. I chose some grasses, some bittersweet (still in the green stage), driftwood, hydrangea, a fading hosta leaf and some bright orange/red nandina. Perhaps it was meant to be as I was later reading an old copy of Sogetsu Magazine from the 1970′s and came across a series of ikebana arrangements by the late Kasumi Teshigahara entitled “Farewell to Summer Flowers”. So it was the perfect theme which I will try to explore again in the next week or so. Finding the right balance with the materials wasn’t easy, and by balance I mean keeping the ikebana from toppling over. I did continue to work with the materials and finished with something I was proud of. Later in the day I felt the floor shaking upstairs in the cottage we’re having our artist “retreat in. It was very strong, and started to subside and then became stronger than before. My partner and I were trying to figure out what was happening and the furnace alarm started sounding. This is a cottage owned by friends and we know nothing about the furnace, or where the fuse box, those sorts of things you should know. We did locate the alarm box and turned it off, and were afraid from the very violent shaking that had occurred (which lasted about 30-40 seconds) and decided that we could not stay inside for fear of the furnace exploding. Our cell phones could not reach our friends who own the house, so we rushed over to their cottage to call them at home from their landline to see what to do. We got there and one of the neighbors yelled “Are you guys alright?” We could not figure out how she knew about our cottage shaking and asked her how she knew. She replied “Because I felt it, we just had an earthquake, it’s already on the TV news!”. So it was a 5.9 earthquake, very unusual for this area and we felt it 100 miles away from the epicenter. What a relief to know that it was not the furnace on the verge of exploding! Tonight a small 4.2 aftershock about a half hour ago. At least there is no damage (and hopefully everything is alright in our apartment in Washington,DC) and no injuries to anyone, just a great story to tell. Later this week we may have a hurricane coming right up right up the Chesapeake Bay towards us.Oh,and the ikebana arrangement that I struggled to keep from falling over as I was making it, despite all the shaking of the cottage it is still standing. It’s turning out to be a very interesting retreat.
Monday, August 22nd, 2011
Much of today was spent running from place to place, up early and back to DC and then to appointments. After all that I worked on catching up on things so that we could return back to the bay this afternoon. I had barely enough daylight once we arrived back at the bay to go quickly sketch the site installation for the sphere I made, but I did it. Part of my learning process is beginning to finally draw out my ideas. I have to admit I don’t draw very well and it does intimidate me as I know lots of artist who draw marvelously and easily. Today I though it would be a good time to dive right in and to just draw. It does make it easier to see my ideas on paper, and I am hoping that it translates well when I begin putting the real thing together. So for tonight a preview on things to come.